Thursday, February 12, 2015

House Cleaning - (Classroom Announcements & An Assignment)

[Classroom announcements at Naropa, July 17, 1978]

AG: For those of you who were not able to get the William Carlos Williams, will you?. Bobby Myers [Editorial note - Allen's teaching assistant on this occasion] will place an order for The Collected Earlier Poems of William Carlos Williams. That's the order (because it's sold out at the Naropa Bookstore and I think it's sold out at Back Country [Editorial note - the local Boulder bookstore, since closed].
If you want to order it, why don't you put your name down on a piece of paper and Bobby will…  It costs ten bucks [sic - 1978] but it's worth having. It's a lifetime book
Student: (How long will it take to order?)
AG: We'll find out. Did you check that out?
Bobby Myers: I think it'll take about three weeks.
AG: Three weeks? Well Bobby will check how long it takes and in the next class, maybe, we'll make some formal decision. Maybe get a list of everyone who would want one if you can get it fast.. By three weeks we'll be past it, but I'll be referring to it again. But it's so basic a work that I suggest everyone should get ahold of it and hang on to it by their bedsides for the rest of their lives. It's the one book that I would unhesitatingly recommend for people to get as a guidebook, model book, handy reference book for basic poetics. Basic observation. I'll come back to it later in the day…

 [and the following week]

AG: Do we have any announcements? - ok, Bobby Myers is ordering copies of (William Carlos) Williams' Collected Earlier Poems. For those of you who wanted them, you might see him. You ordered how many?
Bobby Myers: I ordered twelve copies for everybody, and I'll know more information Wednesday about when they will actually be in. It was told it would cost fourteen twenty [sic!] - fourteen dollars and twenty cents [ - see above - this is 1978] - and then they were sent here airmail (so they'll be here quicker) - Special Delivery of UPS is what it'll probably be - and (so) it might cost about fifteen dollars altogether to cover taxes and delivery.
AG: It's a good investment. There's not many of them, so you can always sell it later on for twenty.

[Naropa class assignment] 

AG:  ….(So find something)  luminous, or curious. or recurrent, or striking gossip, sub-conscious gossip, imagery, recollections, fantasies, anything that is particularly interesting, particularly interesting to others too. Anything that out of your own shrewdness you might find palatable, or useful to serve up to others. That is, some interesting mind-trick or autobiographical recollective fragment.  

Can you all hear me?  Can you all hear me?

Student(s):  Not very well

AG: Not well, okay. Such a cavernous room! - Any interesting recollective fragment, anything that might serve for a poem, or be so odd that it sticks out like a sore thumb (or be so average and ordinary that it's equally beautiful). Anything that reminds you of my poetry, anything that reminds you of  (Charles) Reznikoff's, anything that (Walt) Whitman might have noticed, or some little Surrealist juxtaposition that Andre Breton or Arthur Rimbaud might have delighted in.
In other words, use some aesthetic judgement and pick out the rawest thing you thought. I don't know your criteria. It's all according to your own nature what you think is beautiful. or what you think is odd, or what you think is radical, or what you think indicates some Surrealist juxtaposition where you're thinking one thought and all of a sudden there's a gap and you've forgot what you were thinking and all of a sudden you're thinking another thought. And maybe two thoughts as you recollect them are so odd they make a haiku or a (William Carlos) Williams poem. In other words, just keep a record of remarkable activities of your mind, without going too much into detail. Don't push it too far. Don't go beyond third thoughts back. In other words, think three times, maybe, but don't get hung up. Cut it short if it begins turning into an infinite regress. That make sense?

[Audio for the above may be heard  here, starting at approximately eleven and a half minutes in and concluding at approximately thirteen-and-a-quarter ninutes in - and also here for the first minute in - also here, beginning at approximately sixty seven minutes and continuing to approximately sixty-nine-and-a-quarter minutes in]

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